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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Tuesday said that according to the law, the term of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman cannot be extended.

Abbasi, while talking to media after appearing before an Accountability Court in the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) case, said that the NAB chairman is appointed through consultations between the prime minister and the opposition leader but the government is trying to change the law.

How can a person's tenure be extended by changing a law? he questioned. He said that Chairman NAB Justice Javed Iqbal's (retired) four-year term is going to end on October 8th but the government has yet to start consultation with the opposition leader. To a question about Muhammad Zubair Umer's alleged leaked video, he said that it is very unfortunate that our politics have reached to this point.

If there is anything, then register a first information report (FIR), he said, adding that register a case and do not level allegations. Earlier, he and the other accused appeared before Accountability Court-II judge Muhammad Azam Khan in the LNG case.

The court marked his attendance and allowed him to leave. During the hearing, defense counsel Imran Shafiqu and Dr Yeser Aman Khan conducted cross-examination of prosecution witness Farhan Umer, engineer Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL). The NAB prosecutor, Usman Mirza, also appeared before the court.

To a question asked by defense counsel Aman Khan advocate from the witness, Umer, he said that he has no role whatsoever with regard to the finance and the audit section of the company.

I am not privy to the financial gain or loss of the out of LNG vein of the company, he said, adding that I do not know how much money SSGCL is minting out of the LNG base operation or any loss out of these operations.

He said that three to four persons were available in Brigadier (retd) Abuzar office in the SSGCL office, when I got my statement recorded before the investigation officer (IO). I had the idea that the case was under the stage of inquiry, when I appeared before the IO, he said. He said that he produced the documents to the IO in connection of that inquiry.

During the cross examination by the defense counsel, Imran Shafique, the witness said that the documents he produced were not having the signature of the secretary of the company and seal of the company as it was not required. It is correct that only the secretary is authorised to use the company seal, he said.

When the witness was asked that was he authorised to use company seal, he replied that he was authorised whenever authorised by his boss to use the seal. I also cannot produce any document delegating authority to senior general manager to allow me to use seal of the company, he said.

The defense counsel did not complete cross examination of the witness. The court ordered to complete cross examination of witness Umer during the next hearing to be held on October 5.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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